Today in History:

66 Series I Volume XVI-I Serial 22 - Morgan's First Kentucky Raid, Perryville Campaign Part I

Page 66 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.

there is now in the possession of Benn Pitman, the phonographic reporter of said court, a full and complete report of the proceedings of said court of inquiry: Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of War be directed to employ at once Benn Pitman, the reporter for the court of inquiry in the said matter, to make a full and complete transcript of the phonographic notes taken by him during the said investigation, and to put the same on file among the records of the War Department, and to furnish a copy of the same to Congress.

Approved June 5, 1872.

By order of the Secretary of War:



AIRDREE, KY., February 12, 1873.


Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Among the papers sent to the Military Committee from the War Department on the 13th of April last, in answer to the call of the House for the record of "The Buell Commission," as it is sometimes called, is one which comes to my knowledge in that way for the first time, and is described as "an unsigned communication, reviewing the proceedings of the Commission," &c.* The paper is, in fact, without date, address, or signature, but bears the following indorsement:


Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War by request of Lieutenant-Colonel Piatt.



On the last day of the open session of the Military Commission the President inquired, "Does the judge-advocate propose to submit any paper?" To which the judge-advocate (Lieutenant-Colonel Piatt) replied:

From the nature of the Commission, or Board of Officers, as I understand it, called to investigate the operations of the Army of the Ohio, I am not required to sum up the evidence. Indeed so voluminous is the evidence that it would not be possible to do so within any reasonable time. Most of the questions under consideration are matters of opinion, and as military men the Board is better able to treat of them than I am. There is very little conflict of testimony coming within my peculiar province, and I therefore ask to be excused.

It is not necessary to remark here that by the rules governing the proceedings of military tribunals, as well as upon general principles of law, any argument of the case by the judge-advocate before the Commission should have been submitted in the hearing of the accused and the latter would have been entitled to answer. The paper referred to did not follow that rule. Indeed it seems only to have made its appearance after the Commission had concluded its labors and while its voluminous record awaited the action of the reviewing authority.

I do not ascribe this circumstance to a preconcerted plan; on the contrary, I believe that such a course had not entered the thoughts of the judge-advocate and that, however suggested, the execution, was the offspring of the moment. To my mind, nevertheless, the proceeding has the character of a surreptitious attempt to warp the ordinary course of


*See Inclosure No. 3 (p.12) to Secretary of War's report to House of Representatives, April 17, 1872.


Page 66 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.